Vikings visitor: S Brock Vereen
University of Minnesota Gophers
Valencia High School
One of the more unheralded players in this draft, do not discount this very versatile Gopher as he embarks on a professional career. Especially with young players, having the ability to be plugged into the lineup in a variety of roles allows a position coach to develop his sub packages. With Vereen, it is commonplace to see him shift from spot to spot throughout the course of a game.
In addition to excelling on the coverage units during his career, Vereen has been the consummate team player, vigorously taking on any task the coaches require from him. He began his Minnesota career playing left cornerback, assigned the task of taking on the opposition's bigger targets. With his quickness and backpedal skills, he was shifted to the right side, handling flankers and slot receivers for the Gophers during his sophomore campaign.
Known for his solid wrap-up tackling technique, Vereen was again on the move during his junior season, filling in at both safety positions before taking over the strong-side chores for the second half of the 2013 regular season schedule. As a senior, the seconday's version "of musical chairs" found Vereen lining up as the Gophers' free safety, a position many experts feel that he found a home at as he embarks on making an impression at the next level of the football industry.
Vereen comes from a sports-oriented family. One that has seen his older brothers, Shane, had considerable success as a ball carrier for California, where he ranks seventh in school history with 556 carries for 2,834 yards, scoring a total of 35 touchdowns before joining the New England Patriots in 2011. Their mother, Venita, was a member of the tennis team at Nevada-Las Vegas, where she met their father, Henry, who lettered as a receiver and tailback for the Rebels (1975-78) before being selected in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At Valencia High School, Vereen was a two-time All-CIF selection as a defensive back and wide receiver. As a junior, he recorded 64 tackles with six interceptions, averaging 30.2 yards as a kickoff returner. In 2009, Vereen led his team to a 12-1 record, as he tallied 51 tackles, eight interceptions, two pass break-ups and one sack. On offense, the receiver registered 20 receptions for 474 yards and seven touchdowns. He also excelled as a standout track and field athlete.
Vereen played in nine games as a true freshman, forcing his way into the lineup for four games at left cornerback during his freshman campaign. He delivered 10 tackles during his first year with the Gophers. He started all 12 games at right cornerback in 2011, ranking fifth on the team with 67 tackles (46 solos), intercepting one pass while batting down seven others while also blocking a kick.
Named an Academic All-Big Ten Conference selection as a junior, Vereen shifted inside to safety. He would earn seven starting assignments at strong safety, including the Gophers' final six games, finishing sixth on the squad with 64 tackles. He picked off two passes, deflected nine others, most coming late in the season, as he was still recovering from 2012 offseason knee surgery.
Vereen suffered another knee injury during 2013 fall camp, but was fully recovered by the season opener, going on to have a banner final season to earn All-Big Ten Conference first-team recognition. In 13 starting assignments at free safety, he delivered 59 tackles (41 solos), picking off one pass and deflecting six others. That performance would earn the Gopher an invitation to play in the 2014 East-West Shrine Game.
That invitation followed another – an opportunity to show off his athleticism at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, where it would be an understatement to say that he opened quite a few eyes with his excellent performance. In the weight room, he performed 25 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, the best for any safety or cornerback at the 2014 event, along with ranking seventh for all safeties to attend a Combine in the last 10 years.
In the speed drills, Vereen clocked 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the second fastest time for a safety in 2014 in Indianapolis. He then turned in a 4.07 run in the 20-yard shuttle, which also placed second among the 2014 Combine safeties, the same place where he finished in the three-cone drill (6.90 seconds).
Vereen's versatility helped him earn a total of 36 starting assignments in the 47 games he appeared – four at left cornerback; 14 at right cornerback; seven at strong safety and 11 at free safety…Finished with 200 tackles (127 solos) that included an assisted sack and 7.5 stops for losses of 22 yards…Deflected 22 passes and gained 28 yards via four interception returns…Also blocked one kick.
2012 Season…Underwent knee surgery in the off-season that prevented him from participating in spring drills…Also limited vs. Iowa when he tweaked the knee.
2013 Season…Suffered a minor knee sprain during August camp.
4.47 in the 40-yard dash…1.58 10-yard dash…2.63 20-yard dash…4.07 20-yard shuttle…6.90 three-cone drill…34-inch vertical jump…9'-9" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times…30-inch arm length…7 ¾-inch right hand/8 ¼-inch left hands…73 ¼-inch wingspan.
Vereen attended Valencia (Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Larry Muir…
Was a two-time All-CIF selection as a defensive back and wide receiver…The three-star recruit was rated the 66th-best cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com and listed 57th at that position by ESPN…As a junior, he recorded 64 tackles with six interceptions, averaging 30.2 yards as a kickoff returner…In 2009, Vereen led his team to a 12-1 record, as he tallied 51 tackles, eight interceptions, two pass break-ups and one sack…On offense, the receiver registered 20 receptions for 474 yards and seven touchdowns…
Also excelled as a standout track and field athlete…Graduated with a 4.4 grade point average (5.0 top scale).
Vereen is a Communication Studies major…Son of Venita and Henry Vereen…His older brother, Shane, was a standout ball carrier for California, where he ranks seventh in school history with 556 carries for 2,834 yards, scoring a total of 35 touchdowns before joining the New England Patriots in 2011 as a second round draft choice…Their mother, Venita, was a member of the tennis team at Nevada-Las Vegas, where she met their father, Henry, who lettered as a receiver and tailback for the Rebels (1975-78) before being selected in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…Born 8/1792…Resides in Valencia, California.
Dave-Te' Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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